Headway Suffolk

Ipswich Hub 01473 712225

Bury Hub 01284 702535

Services open during November lockdown

Headway Suffolk’s services will remain OPEN during new lockdown restrictions in force from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, which were recently announced by the government.

Therefore, our clients can be assured that the following services remain open to support them in their continued rehabilitation and wellbeing.

The services are as follows:

Ipswich Hub (Mon – Fri)

Bury St Edmunds Hub (Wed – Fri)

Clinical Therapies


Community Support

Brainy Dogs

Food/Essentials deliveries

The one change is that unfortunately our Haverhill hub has had to temporary close again due to it being in a community centre.

If you have any queries, please call us on 01473 712225.

Jody braves stormy Felixstowe in virtual marathon

Courageous supporter Jody Smith braved the harsh weather in Felixstowe on Sunday to complete the Virtual London Marathon!

Jody will be running the London Marathon when it returns to the capital in October 2021 for Headway Suffolk, as we continue to support her dad Gary after he had a stroke.

To find out more about their story, go to: Jody & Gary’s story

Please sponsor Jody if you can. She has already raised over £2,000!

Her sponsorship page is: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/constancefield

Suffolk stroke survivor supports memory loss campaign

Memory problems after a brain injury can be life changing and are very different from the usual, everyday memory frustrations many of us experience. They can make a survivor feel alone, angry and confused and can impact every aspect of their life.

A recent study by Headway – the brain injury association found that 72% of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems, with 81% reporting that their life would be improved if people had a better understanding of this complex condition.

Peter Brown, 62, from Bury St Edmunds, is just one of those people battling severe memory loss following a brain injury.

He is sharing his story as part of Headway Suffolk’s Memory Loss: A campaign to remember in order to raise awareness and increase understanding of life after brain injury.

Peter was a hard-working family man with two daughters when he suffered a life-changing stroke in March 2012 at the age of 54.

Stroke is the second most prevalent cause (37%) of an acquired brain injury (after head injury 41%) in Suffolk, with 1,215 people admitted to hospital each year. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and starves it of oxygen.

The lasting effects on Peter’s short-term memory meant the end of his working life.

He said: “I had to give up work. When you’re filling in job forms and say you have had a stroke and have memory problems, at this age, they go ‘next. Give us a young man we can mould.’

“And then my marriage ended. It felt like my world had fallen apart.”


After six years in the RAF and working on the railways, Peter has adjusted to his new life with regular visits from Headway Suffolk’s community staff to support him to live independently at home.

Staff use prompting techniques and Peter uses his diary to remind himself of daily tasks, such as what shopping he needs, when to hoover, which meals to eat, etc.

He added: “I keep a diary and the notes and reminders are really helpful.

“I really appreciate what Headway do. It’s not until you have an injury or a problem that you realise there is support like Headway out there.

“You’ve always got to have a positive outlook and do your best. I’ve still got my mobility, which could have gone if I had had my stroke in the wrong place or it had gone on for longer.”

>> Click to read Peter’s story in full

Memory loss is one of the most commonly experienced effects of brain injury and can have a profound impact on the lives of survivors and their loved ones. In the last year, memory was one of the most prevalent issues callers mentioned when ringing the Headway Helpline.

A study released today as part of Action for Brain Injury Week 2020 found that the issue of memory loss is widely misunderstood, with more than 2,000 respondents labelling their experiences as frustrating, confusing, devastating and debilitating.


Study findings

  • 70% of brain injury survivors struggle to recall personal memories, such as their wedding or the birth of their child.
  • 65% of brain injury survivors feel that their personal relationships have been affected as a result of their memory problems.
  • 85% of brain injury survivors feel that memory problems have a negative impact on their life.
  • 72% of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems.
  • 71% of brain injury survivors feel unfairly judged or treated as a result of their memory problems. 


Hubs reopening and accepting new referrals

Headway Suffolk is pleased to confirm that it is reopening its neuro hubs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds back to normal and is accepting new referrals following temporary closure.

The charity, which supports adults living with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions, had to shut its doors on all its hubs, clinical therapies and community activities due to the Covid virus in March for several months, while it focused on vital homecare, virtual rehab and food deliveries.

As the situation has started to ease, Headway has gradually opened its Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds hubs on limited capacity and set days to existing clients, with strict procedures on infection control, social distancing, temperature checks and personal protective equipment.

Following this successful trial, it can now open both hubs back to normal whilst still following the safety procedures and there is capacity to welcome new referrals.

The hubs, open Monday to Friday during the day, offer a range of rehabilitation and life skills activities to help with cognition, coordination and dexterity, as well as clinical therapy appointments in physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and counselling.

Its Haverhill hub, based at the Chalkstone Community Centre in Millfields Way, is due to reopen one day a week (day to be confirmed) from October and new referrals are again being taken.


In addition, Headway now offers support with an outdoor gym sessions at Augustine’s Green on Recreation Way in Ipswich ten times a week, with indoor gyms deemed too high risk.

Helen Fairweather, chief executive at Headway Suffolk, said: “We have worked very hard to ensure our clients can safely get back to the vital rehab they need for their ongoing wellbeing and recovery, having missed out for several months.

“The outdoor gym is very close to the hub and has a range of equipment for clients to work on, as well as benches for when they get fatigued. The clients love it and we hope to keep this going throughout the winter.”

As well as the outdoor gym, clients can also take part in walking netball and walking football.

To enquire and to make referrals, contact Headway Suffolk on 01473 712225 or email info@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.

You can also complete and return our referral form.

Cyclists and Walkers raise £5,000 for Headway Suffolk

Passionate cyclists and walkers responded to Headway Suffolk’s call for support by taking part in its Cycle Ride and Walk fundraiser and raising a fantastic £5,000 for the charity (on 5 September).

Like most charities, Headway Suffolk has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and estimated a £100,000 shortfall in funding this year due to its hubs closing, therapies stopping and not being able to carry out community support activities for several months, as well as fundraising events being cancelled or postponed.

But as ever, supporters of the charity went the extra mile to help out as 43 people took part by either cycling 30 and 40 miles through Ipswich, Martlesham, Felixstowe and Newbourne, or walking a 10 mile route around Ipswich.

It was the 12th annual hosting of the event, which was originally scheduled for May but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As well as individual supporters, a number of businesses took part, including Timberwolf, Glemham Underwriting Ltd, Barnes Construction and asset and property management company Seven Group.

Seven have been stalwarts of the event and this year was no exception. Jackie Dunnett, group director, took part in the walk for the second successive year after her husband Roy Dunnett suffered a stroke and was supported by Headway Suffolk.

Jackie said: “The five-mile walk from Headway to the quay was really nice with great weather and we stopped for coffee at Isaacs. But the walk back was much more difficult! All the cyclists did the full route and did really well.

“Headway were fantastic with Roy after his stroke, so it’s good to give some support back.”

Anna Leggett sustained a brain injury in a road accident nearly four years ago. She completed the 10 miles walk to conclude a personal challenge to walk a marathon distance over five weeks.

Anna said: “I didn’t think I’d do the 10 miles as I haven’t walked to that extent for about 12 years before I had my children, so it’s fantastic to realise you can do it. It’s a massive sense of achievement.

“I had no idea how important a piece of the puzzle fitness and exercise are. I can really feel the brain and general health benefits. You’ve got to keep believing you’re not stuck in one place and you can keep progressing.

“I feel like I have done a marathon. I felt quite emotional doing it, especially going back to Headway for the first time after three years when I was in a bad way during my rehab and realising how far I’ve come. I really am thankful to Headway for their support when I needed it.”

Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, Helen Fairweather, who cycled the 40 miles herself, thanked everyone for their fantastic efforts.

She said: “It was a really good turnout and we very much appreciate everyone making the effort and coming out to support us after having to postpone it in May. We are delighted to have raised such a brilliant amount.

“It has been a very difficult year at Headway Suffolk having to close a number of our services for several months due to Covid and seeing funding reduced. But we have supported our clients in different ways throughout and it is thanks to the support of people taking part in the Cycle Ride and Walk that we are able to do that.”

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity that supports adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions through an extensive range of rehabilitation and therapy services.

Conference cancelled – new date for 2021

Following the government’s ‘rule of six’ announcement that came into force on Monday, it is with regret that we have to announce, in conjunction with Wherstead Park, the cancellation of our Neuro Conference, which was planned for October.

However, we are pleased to confirm that we have set a new date for the event in 2021, which will be Wednesday 12 May.

We plan for the line-up of keynote speakers to remain the same (Dawn Astle, Sam/Claire Norris, Dr Michael Grey, Dr Sajid Alam) and will announce more details in due course.

The link for the new Eventbrite ticket page is: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/headway-suffolk-neuro-conference-tickets-121147018995.

For further enquiries, contact us on 01473 712225 or email helenmfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.

Timberwolf support Headway Suffolk as charity of the year

Staff at Timberwolf, the UK’s leading wood chipper manufacturer based in Stowmarket, have been busy taking part in a host of fundraising activities to support brain injury charity Headway Suffolk.

Timberwolf chose Headway Suffolk as their charity of the year and had various fundraising events planned before the COVID-19 lockdown, meaning all of these activities had to be either postponed or cancelled. However, undeterred, four employees have taken up their own challenges.

Antony Alexander had hoped to enter various power lifting competitions during the summer but instead he utilised his power lifting training to raise money by donating £1 for every kg he lifted on the three standard power lifting competition lifts – squat, bench press and deadlift.

Martin Wells was going to take part in the Orwell Challenge, a walk of 25 miles, but after this was cancelled he decided to train even harder and take on the Peddars Way, an epic walk of 46 miles along an ancient road through Suffolk and Norfolk that dates back to the Bronze Age during the weekend of 11-12 July.

Sharon Myhill and Trish Stephenson had also planned on taking part in the Orwell Challenge, but instead they have been making the most of the fantastic weather by walking over 84,000 steps a week over two months, an average of 12,000 steps a day and an astonishing 732,000 steps in total.

Last year, Timberwolf were the biggest winners in the Suffolk Business Awards, winning both the Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year awards.

The team at Timberwolf, who are the largest seller of commercial wood chippers in the UK, have already raised over a fantastic £1,700. Their sponsorship page is: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Timberwolf.

Trish Stephenson, HR Administrator at Timberwolf, said: “Timberwolf are keen to support local charities, and this year our employees voted to support Headway Suffolk as their charity of the year for 2020.”

“Headway Suffolk work tirelessly to care for and rehabilitate those in need of their services. Having completed our challenges and feeling a lot healthier, we are now planning further fundraising events for them. This will include running a library during 2020 for our employees and donating into our fundraising pot to borrow a favourite read.”

David Crane, communications and marketing officer at Headway Suffolk, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Timberwolf for their support of Headway Suffolk and for their commitment to fundraise and adapt their events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Relationships with local and highly-respected companies like Timberwolf help us to raise awareness of the vital work of Headway Suffolk and the wide-ranging rehabilitation services available to people living with brain injuries, strokes and neurological conditions and their families, such as our hubs, community support and clinical therapies.

“We are very impressed by Timberwolf’s set up in Stowmarket and the great work they do. We really value them choosing us as their charity of the year and all the hard work Antony, Martin, Sharon and Trish and all their team have put in this year and continue to do so.”

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity that provides specialist rehabilitation, therapy and support services to brain injury and stroke survivors and those with neurological conditions and their families in Suffolk.

Eight people a day suffer a brain injury or a stroke in Suffolk, with the most prevalent caused due to a road traffic accident, assault or fall. Physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of brain injury can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families.

Dawn Astle heads Headway Suffolk Neuro Conference

Neurology charity Headway Suffolk is delighted to confirm its four keynote speakers for its sixth Neuro Conference on Wednesday 7 October.

The conference hopes to be able to accommodate 50 delegates at Wherstead Park, near Ipswich, with social distancing and hygiene measures in place, as well as being streamed live online to allow as many people as possible to hear from the line-up of speakers.

Dawn Astle – campaigner for football safety

Dawn Astle is a prominent campaigner for better safety in football after the death of her father, former England striker Jeff Astle, at the age of 59 due to the concussive effects of heading a leather football.

Jeff enjoyed a 10-year career at West Brom and hit the winner in the 1968 FA Cup final. He donated his brain to medical science and research found that he had died from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a degenerative brain disease found in individuals with a history of head injury.

Dawn and the family set up The Jeff Astle Foundation to raise awareness of brain injury in sport at all levels, and to work with governing bodies to deliver independent research into the links between sport, brain injuries and neurodegenerative illnesses.

Sam Norris – speedway rider and brain injury survivor

Sam Norris is a 16-year-old speedway rider from Suffolk who had to relearn to walk and talk again after being struck by a bike at 50mph while racing in a British Youth Championship in Glasgow in June 2019, which left him in a coma.

Sam’s recovery has been described as remarkable by medics and his positive attitude and intense fitness regime saw him achieve his ambition of getting back on a bike again just eight months later, despite living with chronic fatigue.

Sam will be joined by mum Claire, a special needs teaching assistant and intervener, who is keen on highlighting the hidden effects of brain injury after struggling to get the right educational support for Sam, as well as how attitudes from others can change and the importance of safety equipment.

Dr Michael Grey – Rehabilitation Neuroscientist

Dr Michael Grey is a rehabilitation neuroscience at the University of East Anglia (UEA), specialising in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation associated with acquired brain injury, including stroke and mild traumatic brain injury (concussion).

He is Co-Principle Investigator with Prof Tony Belli for the Repetitive Concussion in Sport (RECOS) trial being conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Dr Grey is lead researcher into the UEA’s new project to test former professional footballers for early signs of dementia, which was announced at the start of the year.

Dr Sajid Alam – consultant in stroke medicine

Dr Sajid Alam is a consultant in stroke medicine at the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation and a stroke lead at Ipswich Hospital.

He has a particular interest in the management of TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks or ‘mini-strokes’), hyper-acute strokes and the complex investigations often required after a stroke.

His main speciality is medicine for the older person, and his sub-speciality expertise is in stroke medicine, particularly in cryptogenic and young stroke.

Tickets are priced at £40 for the conference at Wherstead Park and £20 for the virtual conference.

To book Wherstead Park tickets, go to: http://bit.do/HWConference_Ipswich.

To book online stream tickets, go to: http://bit.do/HWConference_Virtual.

If you want to save on Eventbrite’s booking fee, contact us directly on 01473 712225 or by email helenmfairweather@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.

We would like to thank our kind sponsors for making the Neuro Conference possible: Irwin Mitchell, East of England Coop, Ashtons Legal and Slater and Gordon.

Headway Suffolk has attracted great interest in its conferences, which last year featured broadcasting legend Chris Tarrant talking about his life after a stroke.

Previous speakers have included famous scientist Stephen Hawking, TV health expert Robert Winston and author Jane Hawking.

This year’s event promises to be another highlight in Suffolk’s calendar with professional keynote speakers on brain injury, stroke, dementia and neurology, as well as hearing about Headway Suffolk services and future projects.

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity that supports adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions and their families through an extensive range of rehabilitation and therapy services.

Brain injury can affect every aspect of who we are and its physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families.

According to statistics by Headway UK, there were 3,201 admissions (8.7 per day) to hospital in Suffolk with a brain injury in 2016-17. Head injury was the most prevalent cause (41.18%) with 1,318 (789 male, 529 female). This include is any injury that results in a trauma to the brain – typically road traffic accident, assault, fall or accident.

Our Summer Newsletter is here!

Today we have released our Summer Newsletter, with the latest news and events from Headway Suffolk:

We look at how we had to adapt our services to survive the impact of coronavirus and support our clients in new and engaging ways, and why we launched our Coronavirus Appeal to raise £100,000 to cover loss of funding.

We look ahead to our two main events coming up – the Cycle Ride and Walk on Saturday 5 September and the annual Neuro Conference on Wednesday 7 October.

A national survey of brain injury survivors reveals that Headway Suffolk is needed now more than ever and how we face an uphill battle to survive with local authorities coming under increasing financial pressure.

We also look at how we are working with local companies and community groups to raise awareness of Headway Suffolk’s services and how we help local people.

To receive the latest news from Headway Suffolk direct to your inbox, sign up to our mailing list.

Read it here: Headway Suffolk Summer Newsletter 2020.

Headway Suffolk services in need, according to survey

Local brain injury charity Headway Suffolk is needed now more than ever according to the results of a survey published by the national arm of the charity.

The survey, which explored the impact of COVID-19 on people affected by brain injury, found that more than half of brain injury survivors have lost access to rehabilitation services as a result of lockdown.

Early rehabilitation following brain injury can be crucial in helping survivors to regain a degree of independence and relearn lost skills, including walking and talking. But 57% of those who sustained their injuries within the past two years say their access to specialist treatment has been negatively impacted.

A further 64% of those living with the long-term effects of brain injury reported a deterioration in their mental health as a result of the measures implemented to control the spread of COVID-19, while almost two thirds say they now fear for their futures.

The key findings revealed:

  • 57% of people who sustained a brain injury within the past two years reported that their rehabilitation has been negatively impacted
  • Two thirds of respondents reported a negative impact on their psychological wellbeing
  • 62% of respondents fear for their future
  • 50% have lost access to vital support that helps them to cope
  • 42% say their rehabilitation has been negatively impacted